Fire Safety Tips for Burning Candles

Fire Safety Tips for Burning Candles

December 11, 2013 | Apartment Lifestyle, Everyday Living

Nothing creates a cozy atmosphere like candles. There’s something primitively comforting about a flickering flame. People feel safe and warm when candles are lit. They create romance and intimacy. But if you’re burning candles in your apartment, think seriously about fire safety before you light the wick. Here are some important tips:

Watch the Candle

Never leave a flame unattended, whether it’s a small tea light or the stove. A breeze from the window could be enough to start a fire in the second or two you weren’t watching. It’s OK to leave the room as long as you can see the candle wherever you are.

Place it on the Right Surface

Candles are safe on a non-flammable surface. Wood, plastic or paper all pose serious fire hazards. Place your candle on a glass table, brick mantle or stone coaster. The surface should be sturdy. If it wobbles, choose another area to place your candle. Uneven surfaces could potentially tip the flame if you bump into it.

Remove Nearby Hazards

Once you’ve found a safe surface for the candle, you need to remove other potential hazards. For example, take papers off the table and never put a flame near curtains. Take a look around your apartment and mentally label hazards.

Keep it Out of Reach

Your pet doesn’t know the dangers of an open flame. If your candle is on a low table, it might be in danger of Skippy’s wagging tail. A good fire prevention habit is to always put candles up out of reach of your pets. This is another reason never to leave the flame unattended. An adventurous cat may still be able to get to the candle. By being present in the room, you will be able to stop the cat before it knocks over the candle.

Trim the Wick

Candles with long or crooked wicks may burn unevenly, causing wax to drip. Trim your wicks to around a quarter inch before lighting them. This will ensure a nice, even burn. A candle that burns evenly is prettier to look at and lasts longer anyhow.

Use a Candle Holder

Place your candles in a holder designed specifically for candle use. The dish should be fire resistant and large so that it will catch melting wax. Many candle stores sell holders created with fire safety in mind. Choose one of these models.

Keep Candles Separated

Burning candles should not be placed too close to one another. The heat from a nearby candle could melt the wax of another, causing uneven burning. Furthermore, candles create a draft when they burn. Having multiple candles in the same area may cause draft interference. This, again, may burn the wax unevenly.

Don’t Burn Candles During a Power Outage

Yes, fire is a source of light, but you should use a flashlight in the event of a power outage. You may not see the edge of your sheets or a piece of clothing hanging in your closet when the room is dark. They could accidentally catch fire if you’re holding an open flame.

[Image Source: Flickr - Aimee Rivers]

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